Friday, December 30, 2016


That's right its time for my annual top twenty novels of the year post. 
This year's recipients reflect my love of multiple genres, they include some of my go to authors,  some new to me and one debut author too!

I hope you enjoy the picks, that maybe there will be one or more that you'll add to your pile.
All the novels listed below were newly released in 2016 and are in alphabetical order only.

The Best Novels of 2016

Anything for You – Kristan Higgins
Kristan is a go to author for me no matter if she’s writing romance or women’s fiction there are few out there who can tell a story with the emotional impact she can. Her characters are always the stand-outs and that’s also true for this novel. Last year I got to not only meet but have dinner with Kristan so I now have one less thing on my bucket list!  My review tells it all. Congrats Kristan! Anything for You is #5 in her Blue Heron series
My Review
Kristan Higgins is a master of the complicated relationship and none is more complicated than her cockeyed optimist, never give up hero and frustrating even though her wariness is understandable heroine, in this ill-fated second/third/fourth/fifth chance at romance. Her past/present timeline and fabulous tongue in cheek pun filled narrative are the perfect way to bring this Cinderella-esque tale to readers. Her co-stars from the sweet Davey the pups and the character catch-ups from her past Blue Heron tales add humor, humility and reality. The way she describes cooking, a mix of magic and science (food porn) and her genuine handling of Davey’s disabilities and the consequences that caused them was awesome and humbling.

When Connor O’Rourke was twelve he fell in love with Jessica Dunn. Now theirs wasn't an easy love and they had much going against them but Connor had faith that one day they’d overcome all. When that day finally came (in Conner’s mind at least) Conner popped the question. And she turned him down flat!
There were only a few good things in Jessica Dunn’s much less than perfect life, her brother Davey, her job at Blue Heron Winery and Connor O’Rourke. Even though hers and Conner’s on again- off again relationship was complicated, when they were “on” she always made it clear that Davey came first and that her and Conner’s relationship had to be kept under wraps because she was afraid Davey’s fragile mental condition just couldn’t handle Conner being a permanent fixture in their lives. And just when she thought all was well he had to go and ruin it by proposing.

Bright Midnight- Chris Formant
Bright Midnight found its way on my desk thanks to BookTrib
The book was a sex, drugs and rock and roll mystery and I could not put it down. What’s more amazing is that the author is also a prominent business leader whose debut novel is on my keeper shelf! Click here for my interview with Chris -

My Review
Sex, drugs, rock n roll and a mind-boggling mystery take center stage in this unique, exciting debut by Chris Formant. Using a mesmerizing mix of facts, fiction, urban legend and pop culture he builds a true-crime worthy mystery/thriller from the “myth of 27”, (the untimely death of rock star icons all at the age of 27) in his amazing debut, Bright Midnight. His characters are all award worthy especially his aging reporter star, and his use of hard-boiled investigation techniques keeps the story engaging, reader’s pulses pounding and the pages turning. With Rock N Roll as a constant even using Jim Morrison song lyrics for the title and a Pandora’s box for a plot he brings his audience a riveting extraordinary, keeper shelf, read!
Gantry Elliot has spent over 40 years writing for Rolling Stone magazine, he’s gone from headliner to at 65 the butt of the younger writer’s jokes and is wondering if its time to hang up his credentials. When he starts receiving anonymous packages containing “clues” that the rock n roll legends all who died at 27 didn’t die from their addictions but were in fact murdered he thinks he may be onto something big. He knew all of these infamous rockers some intimately and he wants this story more than he wants his next breath so now he just has to convince his boss to let him pursue it and convince the FBI to investigate it. No problem!

Dark Fissures – Matt Coyle
Matt is an author that I’ve featured many times on the blog but sadly to say this is my first time to read him but believe me it won’t be the last. Even though Dark Fissures was #3 in the series I was able to really enjoy it but I think I’ll be going back because there are some things in the protagonist’s past I want to learn more about. Matt Way to Go!!-Click here for Matt's and My conversation about Dark Fissures-

My Review

Coyle’s latest Rick Cahill novel is a gripping fast-paced, page-turner that will hook readers from page one and not let go until the end. The protagonist is a noir-ish, dark hero who’s a loner, a cynic yet a surprising romantic at heart. The to the point, decisive 1st person narrative works well with the star’s curious, suspicious nature. Plus the author being a native of the area brings an intimate feel to every scene. This keeper shelf must read will appeal to both sexes and all fans of engaging plot driven thrillers. Fans of Michael Connelly and Nelson DeMille will love this!
Ex cop, PI Rick Cahill needs a new client to keep the wolves from the door but when that perspective client is the widow of a La Jolla cop who believes her husband’s death was a murder not suicide, he wants to send her packing because his relationship with the La Jolla PD is toxic. Then she tells him more details of her husband, his mistrust of the LJPD chief and his past and he realizes the part of him that demands justice over all has no option but to take her case and the possibility of getting more dirt on La Jolla police chief Tony Moretti is a BIG bonus.

Deep Dark – Laura Griffin
Laura is one of my all time favorite authors and I will never miss a novel that she has coming out. Her Tracers series is not one to miss and better yet they all read excellently as stand a lone novels.  Deep Dark is #10 in the Tracers series.
Laura you Rock!!!
My Review

Griffin’s Tracers series just gets better and better as evidenced by the fantastic #10 page-turner in the series, Deep Dark. Staring an intensely complex couple, tech savvy Delaney Knox and veteran cop Reed Novak opposites that fit together beautifully in spite of or maybe because of their differences. Her chilling storyline is delivered via her astute signature evidence/fact filled dialogue plus some techie facts for dummies in this particular installment. Her cache of super characters, the opposites attract, May, September romance plus a never saw it coming climactic ending make this one unforgettable, amazing read.
Laura you impress me with each and every novel and I can’t wait to see who you throw the book at in #11.

The murder of a local Austin Texas woman is very disturbing to Delphi Center cyber crime investigator (white hat hacker) Delaney (Laney) Knox. Not only did she know the victim, she also has a suspicion about how the perpetrator targeted his prey, and it’s eerily similar to her own attack. Unfortunately the cops aren’t moving fast enough or in the right direction, fortunately she’s got the tools to gently push them there, but that puts her right in the line of fire of a sexy slightly older detective.
Austin detective Reed Novak has just been handed a heinous murder case and almost immediately is getting help from a mysterious source. When that source turns out to be an edgy, seductive twenty something cyber prodigy he wants her help but doesn't want this intense desire he feels for her.
As the body count rises both Laney and Reed have much more to worry about than the attraction they feel for each other.

Field of Graves – No One Knows – JT Ellison
JT Ellison is also one of my all time faves and whether she’s writing a knock your socks off stand alone thriller or one of her fabulous series its always a must read. This year she’s got a double header and both were definitely out of the park home runs. One of the highlights of my life was meeting JT in person and I hope to one day make it a twofer!

Field of Graves is actually the prequel of her award winning Taylor Jackson series and she takes readers back to the beginning and lets us see what makes her tick. Click Here for our interview about Field of Graves-
My Review

J.T. Ellison takes readers back to the genesis of her award winning Taylor Jackson series with a brilliantly delicious dark twisted tale of murder and madness. Starting with a huge bang from Taylor’s glock not a moment or emotion is wasted as JT spins her wonderful crime drama web giving her audience a perfect fly on the wall observation. Her eloquent prose like narrative and timely injection of humor enhances her cop-speak no-nonsense dialogue and lightens the dark content. Fans will get a look back and new fans a first look at her amazing, unforgettable stable of stars and co-stars. JT has amazed me with every novel and this one is no different and I can’t wait to see where she takes me next!

Lieutenant Taylor Jackson is still reeling from repercussions from a sticky professional situation that’s got her on edge and out of sorts, when she’s handed a vicious murder case. A female Vanderbilt student is found dead, ceremoniously posed naked at the Parthenon in Centennial Park. While she and her team start digging for clues another female Vanderbilt student’s body is found. Suddenly all Taylor’s previous dilemmas have to take a backseat to what she and her team are hoping is not but could be a serial killer preying on Nashville coeds. And to make matters worse now she’s got to babysit some burnt out feeb too. Just Perfect!

No One Knows is JT’s very first stand a-lone Hard Back psychological thriller and I can’t tell you how this novel wowed, haunted and kept me up nights reading it. I'm actually listening to the audible edition of the book right now and the narrators do a fabulous job bringing this extraordinary novel to life.
Click here for our interview about No One Knows-

My Review

JT Ellison’s first stand-alone thriller, No One Knows, is the best thing I’ve read in YEARS, from her unforgettable characters to her OMG, explosive ending she has really outdone herself. The storyline is heartbreaking, exhilarating and frustrating with fabulously thin morality lines that she delivers via her fast-paced, eloquent, addictive narrative, leading readers on a merry chase feeding us snippets of information while ever so slowly filling in her masterful puzzle pieces. Her characters are exquisite and unbelievably authentic from her mother-in-law from hell to her damaged yet resilient heroine and then she sweetens the character pot further with “the other man”. Her fluctuating between the past and present and the knock-your-socks-off ending are but two reasons this is a “must read” and one for your keeper shelf.  If you’re looking for a mild-mannered read look elsewhere because this book should come with a warning.
JT I’m in awe, Brava!!!
Eighteen Hundred and Seventy Five days ago after disappearing without a trace Aubrey Hamilton’s husband, Josh has been officially declared dead. Against her wishes, her mother-in-law, Daisy successfully petitioned the court and will now also contest the payout of Josh’s life insurance policy trying to instill herself as the soul beneficiary. Her mother-in-law who has never for one-minute thought she was good enough for Josh, and who has been vocal about her allegations that Aubrey killed him. Maybe its time to put Eighteen Hundred and Seventy Five days of suffering, heartache, of accusations, of her being arrested for first degree murder, of incarceration, Daisy’s testimony for the prosecution and Aubrey’s eventual exoneration, behind her. Because her soul mate and love of her life would not have allowed her to go through all that pain and suffering if her was still alive. Can she let him go, can she move forward, is the man she just met who makes her feel alive her future, or is she still in the clutches of her Eighteen Hundred and Seventy Five day nightmare.

Flight Patterns – Karen White
I can’t tell you how much I enjoy Karen’s masterful storytelling, her southern gothic style, lowcountry settings and deeply emotionally impactful tales leave me breathless.
This review is courtesy RT Reviews and received a Top Pick
Master storyteller White’s latest is an unparalleled Southern Gothic mystery beginning in WWII France. Her iconic mellifluent, innovative narrative is hauntingly beautiful, allowing readers to experience the humidity and taste the salty air while capturing the intricacies of unbelievably alluring characters and breathtaking backdrops. Her perceptivity of family complexities and the extraordinary never-saw-them-coming epiphanies make this a one-of- a-kind story.
Researching a unique china pattern for a client sends antiques specialist Georgia Chambers home to Florida, where she remembers seeing that very pattern. But going home isn’t easy after a 13-year absence, especially when it means seeing a sister who — with good reason — hates her, a mother who checked out of reality long ago and her beloved beekeeper grandfather. Can returning heal these past rifts, or will it only deepen the wounds, awaken the ghosts of secrets and regrets, and put the final nail in the coffin of a dysfunctional family? (NAL, Jun., 416 pp., $26.00)
Reviewed by: Debbie Haupt

I Do Take Two – Merline Lovelace
Merline is a relatively new to me author who I used to review for RT, unfortunately RT quit reviewing all Harlequin series romance, but I am fortunate that is wasn’t until after I got to read this novella. Click here for our interview about #2 in the series Third Times the Bride-

This review is courtesy RT Reviews
“I DO”… TAKE TWO (4.5) by Merline Lovelace: USAF Major Travis Westbrook wants his wife back and he’s planned his own special ops mission to make it happen. Love isn’t the issue for Kate Westbrook; it’s negotiating the separate worlds she and her Special Forces husband live in. She thinks divorce is the only answer. “Amazing” pretty much sums up Lovelace’s profoundly emotional second-chance page-turner. The breathtaking European backdrops, the fantastic narrative, the fierce loyalties and the couple whose love overcomes every obstacle make this a keeper!
Reviewed by: Debbie Haupt

Liar’s Key – Carla Neggers
Carla Neggers is yet another go to author for me, both her romantic suspense Sharpe and Donovan FBI Romantic suspense series and her Swift River Valley series both set in the beautiful North East are keepers. Liar’s Key is #7 in the Sharpe & Donovan series. Click here for our interview about Liar's Key and the series-
This review is courtesy RT Reviews and was a Top Pick

The seventh in Neggers’ Sharpe and Donovan series is insanely sensational. From the gripping beginning it’s off to the races as she ingeniously gives readers a perplexing puzzle to chew on, drip-feeding them clues while simultaneously ushering in her kaleidoscope of returning and new, yet all necessary and fascinating characters. Told via fluent narrative she gives her brilliant trademark fly-on-the-wall, play-by-play storytelling that keeps the scenery vibrant, the pace fast and the pages turning on an engaging, complex, unforgettable Transatlantic storyline. This book stands well alone but reads better in series order.
FBI Special Agent Emma Sharpe is busy working her dream job and getting ready to marry her dream guy when she’s paid an impromptu visit by a retired FBI art crimes legend. The visit takes a decidedly suspicious turn when he starts asking questions about her family’s art recovery firm, an English mythologist/art thief, the supposed accidental death of an archeologist and some rumored stolen medieval mosaics. Soon she’s putting aside her lace and veil and she, her team and her fiancé are drawn once again into the sinister side of the art world. (MIRA, Sep., 320 pp., $26.99)
Reviewed by: Debbie Haupt

Miracle on 5th Avenue – Sarah Morgan
I first met the fabulous UK author Sarah Morgan when I was reviewing the Harlequin Presents line for RT Magazine. Her novellas always put me right into her very over-the-top settings and larger than life characters and still review her now that she’s writing genre romance. The Miracle on 5th Avenue is the 3rd in her With Love to Manhattan series.  Just recently Sarah participated in my Ho Ho Ho Harlequin Holiday Extravaganza blog bash click here for her guest post-
My review is courtesy RT Reviews Magazine and received a Top Pick

Morgan’s magical series finale hooks readers from page one. Morgan’s phenomenal storyline and humorous play-on-words-filled narrative is a symphony for all senses, starring a cynical crime writer who’s lost his muse and a spontaneous, eternal-optimist heroine.The character quote snippets are priceless, but it's definitely the slow-building, sizzling romance and the amazing connection she gives her duo that makes for an unforgettable read.
Determined to get the Christmas spirit back, Eva Jordan agrees to decorate the 5th Avenue penthouse of a reclusive mystery author. She also has getting horizontal with a man on her Santa list, but never expected to kill two turtledoves with one stone when said sexy author pins her under him, mistaking her for a thief! Crime writer Lucas Blade thought he’d lost his muse when his wife died. Then a beautiful, steely, blue-eyed blonde breaks into his apartment, which gets his creative juices flowing. (HQN, Dec., 368 pp., $7.99)  
Reviewed by: Debbie Haupt

Simply Irresistible - The Crusader’s Handfast– Deborah Cooke/Claire Delacroix
I have been reading Deborah Cooke longer than any author and she is by far my favorite. She’s versatile, writes in multiple genres and time periods but one thing that follows every work is that it's a remarkable story.
This year she’s got two on my best of list.
Simply Irresistible writing as Deborah Cooke
The Crusader’s Handfast writing as Claire Delacroix.

Simply Irresistible-
My Review
Deb Cooke’s debut in her new Flat Iron 5 contemporary series is a delight, and a bit naughty romantic comedy. In it she gives readers a fantastic fake date trope staring a closet reading e-rom, nerd girl with some rather wicked fantasies and matches her with a hot, too sexy for his Brooks Brother’s suit wearing vanilla-nice guy. Her dialogue is catchy and fast paced its full of poetry and great quotes and is a love letter to the Manhattan setting in this sexy and sweet with a lot of heat romance. So if you’re looking for something to keep you warm on a cold winter’s night you’ve come to the right place. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next but if you read book one you might get a hint!
Tyler McKay has a big problem his little sister is getting married and if he shows up stag to the wedding he knows his big, noisy, interfering family, especially his fanatic for grandbabies, mother will try to fix him up. He’s not opposed to marriage, he simply wants to chose his own partner in his own time. So his solution is proposing a fake dating scheme with the woman he’s been noticing in his building’s lunchroom, the buttoned up, voracious reader he’s affectionately nicknamed, the librarian. When he finally meets her, he learns that she can also benefit from a fake wedding date, plus he’s pleased to learn she’s not as buttoned up as he first thought. And he’s actually looking forward to making this fake date as fun as possible.
With a dead end job, a house that’s falling apart and no funds for repairs, Amy Thornton’s only outlet was living vicariously through the characters in her erotic romance novels. Until the hot sexy guy she’s been secretly referring to as Mr. Yum approaches her with the most hair-brained proposition. She knows it won’t work, she knows no one will believe they’re dating but she also knows it will be sweet revenge bringing him to her Bridezilla cousin’s wedding. So her answer as implausible as it seems, is a resounding YES!

The Crusader’s Handfast – Claire Delacroix

My Review

Like all the previous in her fabulous Champions of St. Euphemia tales, Claire Delacroix’s 5th in the series, The Crusader’s Handfast is like stepping through time back to the era of the Knights Templar. Her masterful storytelling is informative and insightful and the magnificent pageantry and the infusion of interesting historical facts with her incredible fiction gives the read an honesty not readily found in the genre. Her suspenseful side stories and co-stars add depth but it's the May September romance between her feisty heroine and principled hero that really rock this medieval read. Stands well on its own but better read in order.
After two years of adventure with her lady Ysmaine and now her part in saving the sacred reliquary of St. Euphemia Radegunde knows her future will pale in comparison. So before she’s married off by either her lady or lord she decides to celebrate with a night of passion and she has the perfect warrior candidate in mind.
Duncan MacDonald longed to give this fiery, feisty lady’s maid her heart’s desire of a life filled with passion and adventure, but not only is he too old for her he also has other obligations and no right to take what can never be his. But resisting her may be impossible because her spirited soul speaks to his.

The Angel’s Share – JR Ward
I am a huge BDB (Black Dagger Brotherhoood for those of you living under a rock) fan and when I saw some reviews and heard talk about this new contemporary non-vampire series I was curious but not convinced to read it. That all changed the day I started listening to The Bourbon Kings book one in this incredible series. I love reading but I have to tell you the narration by Alexander Cendese is flawless and hits every mark on the emotion and inflection. So if you want the all encompassing 360º enjoyment try the audible version.

My Review

The Angels’ Share book two in JR Ward’s fabulous Southern Gothic, Bourbon Kings series continues the saga of the once über-wealthy now possibly destitute Baldwine/Bradford family. Her eloquent narrative perfectly reflects the mindset of each and every character, situation and scene. Her amazing storytelling ability will keep the pages turning as she intricately peels the layers off these players revealing some good, some bad and some utterly rotten to the core. She rocks the boat and reader’s worlds with her continual OMG revelations and proceedings and when the end comes amidst the emotional drain readers will be bereft and achingly aware that it will be another year before the next round.

The sultry Southern fried narration by Alexander Cendese is the only way in my humble opinion to experience this world that JR Ward has created, his emotions, his inflections and his cadence are pure perfection and the way he slips from accents, sexes and tempos is amazing.

Jonathan Tulane (Lane) Baldwine, the once privileged playboy, now self-proclaimed family savior has to step up his game if there’s any chance to save his family’s fortune, face and centuries old bourbon business. The company is in shambles, there are speculations, accusations and it looks like his dear old dad might have embezzled the entire till then threw himself off a bridge when it looked like he might be caught with his hands in the cookie jar. His best bud from NYC is under duress hard at work trying to make sense of the finances but he’s only human and it’s looking more and more like he’ll need a magician to solve these problems.
His older brother is still a shell of his former self from before his kidnap and torture, his little sister is still a whirlwind and sometimes an ill wind blows in her wake and his other brother Max is still MIA.
Thank God he’s got his Lizzy because without her by his side none of this would be possible or worth it.

The City of Mirrors – Justin Cronin
The city of Mirrors is the finale in Justin’s amazing trilogy this is not a book you can read without first reading the first two and even they are all amazing reads they are also a huge investment in your time but if you love a great sci-fi fantasy as much as I do you will put this on your wish list. My review is courtesy RT Reviews Magazine and received the coveted 5 Star Top pick Gold rating.

Cronin’s long-awaited finale to his epic post-apocalyptic trilogy is an edgy, page-turning fantastical tour de force. His world, displayed through brilliant, dystopic-tinted narrative lenses, is frighteningly familiar, mercilessly exhibiting the ingenuity, tenacity and brutality of man. With love as his polestar, his humanization of Fanning/Zero and the masterful end are but a few things that make this an incredible, one-of-a-kind future classic.
In the years following the liberation of the Homeland and the eradication of the virals thanks to Amy and her followers, its time for a new world order. Time to expand borders, empty refugee camps and finally start living again. But deep in the ruins of a once-great city, the original viral lies waiting for the right time to call his army out of hiding and launch their ultimate attack. (BALLANTINE, Jun., 624 pp., $28.00)
Reviewed by: 
Debbie Haupt

The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall – Shannon Kirk
Shannon Kirk had her chilling thriller debut Method 15/33 and was an instant hit. The Extraordinary Journey of Vivienne Marshall is her sophomore offering and is so different than her debut yet it comes straight from her heart and if you choose to read it I know it will warm your heart like it did mine. Here is our conversation from when it first released-

My Review

Kirk takes readers on a highly conjectural journey between life and death in her new amazingly imaginative, gut wrenching and heartwarming novel. A tale that tells us love has power in death and beyond. Readers get a fly on the wall, in reverse perspective of her remarkable protagonist Vivienne Marshall, who we get to know using her visionary past, present and future trio of timelines via her eloquent, vivid fairy-tale like narrative. Her settings are whimsical her co-stars unforgettable, and her love is eternal constant makes this a keeper shelf, page-turner.

In an instant Vivienne Marshall became a statistic, a 21st century cautionary tale when while texting she walks into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Extraordinarily while lying in her hospital bed precariously clinging to life she’s visited by Noah, her deceased first love who informs her he’s her guardian angel and he’s here to help her choose her perfect Heaven. But its not that easy for Vivienne, although what Noah is offering is tempting she doesn’t want to leave her young son Ivan.

The Forgotten Room – Karen White-Beatriz Williams-Lauren Willig
Lauren is a new to me author but both Karen and Beatriz are faves. The unique thing about this is it isn’t an anthology but a multiple time period story connecting three women in the same family and a Manhattan Mansion and its transformations through the years and it reads so fluidly that you'd never imagine there are multiple authors writing it.

My Review

Three amazing authors piece together a literary masterpiece, a fateful and at times painful journey featuring lies, deceptions and ill-fated love. It spans three generations and alternates through three different time periods staring three women protagonists and a stable of exceptional co-stars including the forgotten room itself. Readers are faced right away with a dilemma, a  mystery that these outstanding authors spend the entire novel solving with their vivid depictions of people places and things and a flawless, fluid prose like and period perfect narrative, and so seamless it’s hard to believe it’s coauthored. Amongst the OMG revelations fans of each individual author will see tell tale clues specific to each, and all readers will see an unforgettable, keeper shelf jewel. So be prepared to laugh and to cry and to lose your heart to this incredible sweeping epic tale.

The audible edition of the novel is expertly narrated by the duo of Morgan Hallett (narrator the 1942 characters) and Susan Bennett (narrator of the characters from 1892 and 1920 – and the voice of Siri) who each represent their characters flawlessly and effectively highlighting the traits of each time period and player while providing a more all-encompassing, three-dimensional experience of the novel.

Three generations of women from one family each share a personal and familial connection to a forgotten attic room in a New York mansion built at the very end of the Gilded Age. If only walls could talk.

In 1944 critically wounded Captain Cooper Ravenal returns to the US from the fighting in France and ends up in a Manhattan mansion turned military hospital. Tending him is the very unconventional Dr. Kate Schuyler who just happens to have a striking likeness to the woman in the miniature portrait painted by his famous artist Grandfather.

In 1892 Olive Van Alan gets one step closer to exacting her revenge against the family who ultimately cost her father his life and her family everything when she gets hired as a housemaid for the Pratt family in their Manhattan mansion. Then she meets beautiful artist Harry Pratt and suddenly everything changes.

In 1920 Lucy Young is hired by the firm who handles the legal affairs of the Pratt family, a family Lucy just may be a member of if she can prove she’s the illegitimate daughter of one of the Pratt sons. While working for the firm Lucy meets a Mr. Ravenal a SC art dealer who has a miniature portrait of a woman who looks like her, a woman who was the assumed muse and suspected mistress of Mr. Ravenal’s artist father.

The Magic book 4 The Wilds Series – Donna Augustine
Donna is a relatively new to me author but I have to admit she’s also quickly become one of my favorites. The Wilds is her latest Urban Fantasy series that I instantly fell in love with and The Magic is the finale of the series and was an amazing conclusion to an amazing journey. Here’s a link to our conversation about this novel and the series -
My Review

Donna Augustine’s 4th and finale in her urban fantasy The Wilds series satisfyingly solves the mysteries and answers the unanswered questions wrapping the series up fantastically. Her fast paced dialogue brilliantly tells the tale scene by vibrant scene and expertly captures the innocent and at times cluelessness of Dahlia’s youth along with her kick-butt never give-up attitude, plus her laugh out loud humor lightens the sometimes very dark, very intense storyline. Her co-stars were all amazing, the unbreakable bond she built between her stars and the OMG revelations rock the read!
This is a keeper!
Series must be read in order.

Dax, Dahlia (Dal) and their friends have just arrived back at the farm from the settlement called The Rock with fresh battle scars and still more questions than answers.
The war over the survival of the human race against the alien creatures known as Dark Walkers still rages and even with Dal and Dax’s magic being stronger than ever there are no guarantees of success. They need to keep their enemy in the dark while they fortify themselves and ready for battle, it’s why they’ve made a deal with the devil himself, aka the Dark Walker’s leader. They have no options but to fight to the finish in this winner take all war so they hope they have enough time, luck and power to defeat this terrible foe.

The Return of the Witch – Paula Brackston
Paula is an author that I am always first in line when a new offering is available. She writes about her native Welsh wilderness some contemporary some historical but all fascinating fantasy. The Return of The Witch is the sequel to her award winning The Witch’s Daughter.

My Review

Paula Brackston’s sequel to her debut The Witches Daughter is a fast-paced journey back into her extraordinary mystical magical world filled with witches, warlocks and other supernatural beings. Her two star witches were amazing and all her incredible co-stars give the read a depth that would be impossible without them. The vistas are picturesque and period perfect delivered through her articulate, eloquent narrative. The time travel element was fascinatingly unique and the explosive ending the perfect finale .The Return of the Witch stands well on its own, but to enjoy the entire story read The Witch’s Daughter too.

Five years ago Elizabeth and the young witch she’d been fostering and had come to think of as her daughter, Tegan dispatched their mortal enemy, a powerful warlock named Gideon to an inescapable prison. With the threat gone Elizabeth knew it was time to leave Tegan and the mortal realm to spend eternity in The Summerlands. Now somehow Gideon has escaped and Elizabeth knows he’ll head straight for Tegan so she must go back to the wilds of Wales and protect her. Only when she arrives it’s not the same inexperienced, and insecure girl she left but a powerful witch in her own right and a formidable friend. When Gideon kidnaps Tegan and escapes with her to the past Elizabeth hopes she finds them in time to destroy him for once and all and prays that Tegan has learned enough to keep her alive until she reaches her.

The Wheel of Osheim – Mark Lawrence
Mark Lawrence is also an author from across the pond that I started reviewing for RT Review magazine. His first Urban Fantasy series, The Broken Empires was amazing and this, his second, The Red Queen’s War series is just as good. His novels are character and location rich and are like the first series brutal and beautiful. My review is courtesy RT Reviews Magazine and received a Top Pick

Lawrence’s final book in the Red Queen’s War trilogy is a fascinating example of his unmatched, masterful storytelling, his magnificent worldbuilding and his ingenious narrative. The intermingling of his two series is avant-garde and his signature epic and nightmarish battle scenes are beautifully brutal. Plus his incomparable depiction of his main protagonist’s reluctant hero personality is amazingly perceptive. But it’s definitely his snarky, humorous dialogue that lightens his very dark “dream-alities” and expertly portrays the imaginative backdrops and barbaric events and keeps the pages of this tour-de-force fantasy thriller turning. Bravo!
Prince Jalan Kendeth, grandson of the Red Queen, has been through Hell, literally. He’s had enough adventure to last three lifetimes and only wants to return to his former debauched lifestyle. But first he must finish this impossible quest to stop the ancient builder’s wheel that threatens to destroy the world — if only no one were depending on a coward like him to get the job done. (ACE, Jun, 432 pp., $27.00)
Reviewed by: Debbie Haupt

When We Were Sisters - Emilie Richards
I’ve been reading Emilie Richards for years and love her emotionally powerful novels. When We Were Sisters was an extraordinary example of her mastery of the written word and it's a stand a lone so you don’t have to worry about missing anything before it. My review was a Top Pick and is courtesy RT Reviews Magazine

Richards exceptionally delves into a delicate social issue in this poignant, insightful morality tale. With an incredibly intuitive storytelling voice, she delivers an engaging, empathic, chilling page-turner highlighting the good and evil of foster care — and especially the fragility of the children placed there. Her two extraordinary protagonists and the explosive revelations are unforgettable.
Sisters of the heart Cecilia and Robin became foster sisters at 13 and 9 and vowed to always be there for each other. Now superstar singer-songwriter Cecilia thinks it’s time to slay childhood dragons by filming a documentary on being a foster child, and she knows she can’t do it without her little sister, who’s also the documentary’s photographer. At a personal and professional crossroads, Robin Lenhart hopes following her sister and furthering her career won’t sacrifice the family she’s always wanted and worked hard for, but knows this is something she must do. (Mira, Jun., 464 pp., $26.99)
Reviewed by: Debbie Haupt

I hope you enjoyed my selections perhaps you've read one or two or three or maybe I've convinced you to pick up a read that wasn't already on your wish list.
Here's hoping 2017 is the best year yet, stay safe, be happy and for heavens sake read!

WELCOME 2017!!


  1. Wow. TWO books on the list! Thanks so much, Deb. I"m honored to be in such company!

  2. I always like these posts as they start cropping up this time of year. Not sure if my library reserve list can handle the influx of titles! ☺ Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks for the visit holdenj hope you do add one or two to your pile. Happy New Year to you too!!!

  3. Love Higgins, she is fabulous and I loved City of Mirrors too! So fun seeing ones I really liked this year too. Great list Debbie and I hope you have a safe and wonderful New Year!!

    1. Thanks Ali I'm glad you agree with some of my choices.

  4. I've read six of these and loved them. My reading is not quite as eclectic as yours so those thrillers don't get read! Love you have Sarah Morgan's book there, my copy I won from your blog will be taking pride of place when I get my new bookshelves. Loved it. Great to see Emilie's book there too.
    You influencer you! Watch for my first book of the year post... you just might have had a small hand in the choice!!

    1. oh way to peak my interest Kathryn I'm always happy when one of my blogger friends wins one of my contests and that it was a friend from New Zealand is even better!! Enjoy!

  5. Ha! I knew a Delacroix would be on your top list. :) I've got to read Laura Griffin books. You put me onto the Donna Augustine series. I've got book two and need to get busy catching up. Love seeing what made your list, Debbie.

    1. Ah you know me so well Sophia Rose and yes Cooke/Delacroix is a fave

  6. Glad you had so many books that you loved. I haven't read any of them. Maybe I can get to some of them one day. I hope you find just as many great books in 2017. Happy New Year!

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

    1. Well some of my audibles are thanks to you Melanie, in fact Drew Hayes was on my list but I can't find my review of Deadly Acquisitions. I have no idea what I did with it, probably trashed it unfortunately it was before I posted the review anywhere. LOL
      Happy New Year

  7. Such a neat variety of reads, Debbie! I've got a couple of them on my list because of you :D Hope you're having a great new year so far!

    1. Ah Anna I hope you enjoy the ones I've suggested! Happy New Year to you too!